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Witchcraft in the Early Modern World
COL 236
Fall 2017
Section: 01  

Between the years 1400 and 1800, approximately 100,000 people were prosecuted on the charge of witchcraft in both Europe and colonial America. Of this number, roughly half were executed. While these estimates are much lower than popularly believed--Dan Brown's THE DA VINCI CODE told legions of readers that "an astounding five million women" had been burned at the stake--they are nonetheless startling numbers for a modern audience. In this seminar, we will examine the phenomenon of witchcraft and witch-hunts in early modern Europe and Europe's colonies in the Americas. What confluence of beliefs--religious, legal, cultural--made such prosecutions possible? Of those tried, why were the vast majority women? And how is the witch of history different than the witch of myth, literature, and popular culture? To explore these questions, we will consider historical sources (e.g., case studies, trial records), literary depictions (e.g., plays, fairy tales), and representations in film (e.g., Häxan, The Craft, The VVitch).
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA COL
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Credit/Unsatisfactory
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on SEP-24-2017
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